24 March 2007

Politically, historically and legally Kosovo-Metohija is and will remain part of Serbia



Source: Government of Serbia
Date: 06 Jan 2007


Belgrade, Jan 6, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica spoke in an interview for the Christmas edition of the daily "Blic" on solving the issue of the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, Ahtisaari's concept of "supervised independence", cooperation with the Hague tribunal, continuation of negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), and the most important tasks awaiting the new government.


The Serbian government's official website presents excerpts of the interview.


The concept of "supervised independence" to be presented by Ahtisaari:


Any proposal presented by Ahtisaari which is not in accordance with the UN Charter will be illegal, illegitimate and futile. In order to reach a sustainable solution for Kosovo-Metohija it is necessary to respect the framework of international law. I am referring here to the UN Charter which guarantees the existing borders of all states, as well as their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Serbia can not be made an exception, and can not be the only country in the world whose borders can be changed at will and whose territory can be seized. Neither can exceptions be made regarding Kosovo in the implementation of international law and justice, and the UN Charter. Because any exception made in the implementation of law and justice, is nothing but brutal lawlessness and aggression. The attempt by the ethnic-Albanian minority to make another Albanian country, besides the one that already exists, on the territory of Serbia is one of the most dangerous and destructive ideas in Europe today.


Deadline for finding a solution for Kosovo-Metohija:


The idea of breaking deadlines came from those who set these deadlines. There was the deadline of September, then November was the deadline for the completion of Ahtisaari's mandate, however - that was also prolonged. Setting deadlines should be avoided. Let us find a viable solution in the framework of international law. The idea that Ahtisaari will announce the solution for the future status of Kosovo-Metohija two days after elections in Serbia is senseless. Especially if we see how the negotiations went and how Ahtisaari conducted them. There were no negotiations - there was one meeting at the most. I think it is time to take negotiations seriously, so that a viable solution is found. We can reach a compromise only if we have a framework - the UN Charter. Then we can find a form of autonomy, among models of autonomy that exist in democratic European countries.


The possibility of by passing the Security Council and the bilateral recognition of the independence of Kosovo:


That would be a most brutal violation of international law. We were witnesses to various violations of international law, such as air attacks on Serbia in 1999. However I don't think that territory can be seized from Serbia now. Russia as a member of the Contact Group and an increasing number of countries advocate that the UN Charter and international law must be respected. If there are general rules, then exceptions can not be made. Something like territorial integrity which is valid for the rest of the world, can not be made invalid for Serbia.


Cooperation with the Hague tribunal and continuation of negotiations on the SAA:


A lot has been done in cooperation with the Hague tribunal and what we have done is far more than what was achieved by pervious governments. I want to stress that it would have been better if negotiations had continued, because it is easier to solve problems in a positive atmosphere. In any case, the most important thing now is to finally resolve the problem of cooperation and we will do everything in our power to complete cooperation as soon as possible, because, above all, it is in our interest to do so.


A number of countries agree with our position that it was not necessary to punish Serbia, and the negotiations could have been continued, without signing the agreement. Major forces were not successful in bringing various indictees to justice. Even the most powerful countries in the world have problems regarding persons who escape justice, and do so for years. Different principles can not always be applied to Serbia. If the issue of completing cooperation with The Hague were an easy one, it would have been resolved before us.


Does the government have a back up plan for Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija if the status of the province does not turn out to be substantial autonomy?


If a back up plan implies independence, then there is no back up plan for us. For Serbia, Kosovo-Metohija is an unalienable and integral part of the country, and it will always be so. The Constitution of Serbia does not acknowledge or recognise that any part of our country can be seized, and certainly not the one which is most precious. Politically, historically, and legally Kosovo-Metohija is and will always be part of Serbia. And for Serbia all our peoples in Kosovo-Metohija live exclusively within the state of Serbia, and it will be so. That is what I said to my hosts, the Lazarevic family, on New Year Eve.


The most important tasks awaiting the new government:


I think that there are four tasks or aims - first is safeguarding the territorial integrity of Serbia with Kosovo-Metohija as a province with substantial autonomy. The second is to make the upcoming year one of employment, significant reduction of unemployment, offering all citizens a better life. Then there is continuation of negotiations on the SAA with the EU, as well as strengthening of regional cooperation, cooperation with Russia, all permanent member countries of the Security Council and other influential countries. The fourth aim is to continue the fight against organised crime and corruption. A great deal of progress has been made in that fight. Achieving these four basic aims is what we see as our work in the new government.